Is Twitter Really Dead?  And does it matter?  discussion

Is Twitter Really Dead? And does it matter? discussion

Marking his controversial $44 billion ($65 billion) acquisition of Twitter last month, Elon Musk inexplicably strolled into the company’s San Francisco headquarters with a kitchen sink. Now there is a good chance that soon everything will be left.

The company recently laid off 3,800 of its 7,500 full-time employees. Internal estimates say another 1,200 resigned just last week. Celebrities are leaving the platform and after some high-profile verification controversies, companies are also reducing their presence. Meanwhile, many everyday users have begun writing love letters to what the site has meant to them, reluctantly (and with great embarrassment) telling their followers to “toot” them on Mastodon.

But the page keeps rolling. And according to Musk, it’s seeing record activity. So…are reports of his death grossly exaggerated? Culture reporters Meg Watson and Thomas Mitchell entered this group chat to discuss.

Is Elon Musk Killing Twitter? Or are reports of his death greatly exaggerated?Recognition:Britta Pedersen/Pool via AP/Nine

Mega: I have to admit: I was on Twitter a lot of the last weeks. I haven’t even actually tweeted yet. I just tuned in to watch the raging trash can fire.

My favorite moment was the week everyone posed as Elon Musk and started tanking company stock prices with $8 fake verified accounts.

But at the same time, I definitely don’t feel good about the platform being full of misinformation (bad for democracy and… my job) and eventually being totally overrun by trolls and fascists. The appeal of Twitter rests very heavily on the fun and useful people who stay here.

How are you these days? Have you left Mastodon or any of the other alternative platforms that I barely understand?

Neopets is back baby!

Neopets is back baby!Recognition:AP Photo/Barbara Ortutay

Thomas: I can’t bring myself to join Mastodon, mainly because I hate the name and also the feeling of starting over on a fresh social media platform.

Mega: You didn’t give in for BeReal? I feel like everyone hates the old platforms these days. Change is in the air!

Thomas: I suspect if Mastodon takes off my FOMO will force me to join. But right now, it’s the same FOMO that keeps me hooked to Twitter.

Rightly or wrongly, the Musk acquisition was an interesting twist in Twitter’s history, and I’ll have to see how it plays out. Additionally, I’m obsessed with the FIFA World Cup and sports fans don’t seem to be leaving the platform like other groups.


Mega: Totally fair enough. I mean, do you think total collapse is actually on the horizon? Given Twitter’s financial woes, I think this is a real possibility. And while this isn’t anything new in the social media world (thanks to my lost teenage bebo profile), it feels different than the platforms we’ve lost before.

Minor as it may seem, Twitter has completely changed the way modern politics and journalism work (for better or for worse). It was a turning point for celebrity culture (remember when The Rock broke the news that Osama Bin Laden was dead?) and it was pivotal in nurturing movements like the Arab Spring, #MeToo and Black Lives Matter.

That’s a lot to lose on impulse buying from a smug rich guy. And I don’t know if it can be replicated elsewhere as well.

I don’t want all politicians on TikTok. I don’t even want the ones that are here now.

Thomas: No way Twitter is going anywhere. I’ve read that Eugen Rochko, creator of Mastodon, liked Twitter’s demise to MySpace’s demise, but that’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. Twitter is embedded in the social, political and cultural fabric in a way other platforms, including MySpace and your beloved Bebo, have never been.

Even if you look at Facebook, a platform that was once dominant but is arguably irrelevant today, it never served the same function as Twitter. Facebook was primarily a place to connect with friends or share 800 blurry photos in a single evening.


As much as I hate to believe Musk’s “Twitter is the digital marketplace” rhetoric, she has rewritten the rulebook for how we engage as a mass community. And now we’re all a bit addicted to the ease with which we can engage in public debate and discussion. Or troll each other.

Mega: But this is an important point! Some people are quitting in protest at Musk. But others are doing it because they’re worried about hate speech, as people like Trump are being reinstated, other previously banned accounts are being restored, and moderation is being scaled back.

Twitter could be a cesspool of hate and abuse before all of this, and now it could get a whole lot worse. What would it take for you personally to delete your account?

Thomas: I don’t think I would ever delete my account because I fear that at this very moment you will regret your decision and come crawling back with your tail between you and me, which I suspect can happen to many of these high profile Twitter users who are dramatic Farewell to the platform.

Personally, I find the Muskification of Twitter a sideshow to ignore, and it seems he’s equally flabbergasted that people are choosing to leave. Or at least he says so.

Also, I think we need to talk about the fact that he’s now sleeping at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters “until the org is fixed.”

Mega: Personally, I think this has an extremely sad “divorced dad sleeping on his ex-wife’s futon” vibe. But it’s also a #hustle mentality that the Silicon Valley tech brothers (the kind who worship him and most importantly invest in his companies) love. The whole thing is so performative and spasmodic, like a D-grade version of Justin Timberlake’s Sean Parker The social network.

Perhaps the better question is: Do you think Musk will stay? He certainly can’t keep this up forever. Will he eventually sell at a loss and let things get back to normal, or does he have too much influence to lose? How long do we have to wait for this?

Thomas: Musk may be many things — eccentric billionaire, astronaut wannabe, father of eight — but a quitter isn’t one of them. The Twitter takeover appears to be a passion project that’s keeping its name in the news. I guess it can’t be overstated how much this means to him, because besides the above labels, he may also be an egomaniac.

Mega: Pooh. Twitter really didn’t need more of this.

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#Twitter #Dead #matter #discussion

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